I’ve finally had enough

Frustration grows for residents living on Marlowe Road Estate in Walthamstow as it undergoes major redevelopment

Michelle Edwards

Michelle Edwards has lived on Marlowe Road Estate for more than 20 years

The partnership deal between our landlord Waltham Forest Council and Countryside, Marlowe Road Estate’s developer, seems to be ticking along nicely – but not to the advantage of residents.

We turn up to each monthly Marlowe Road Steering Group meeting in the belief that our views will be heard and actually mean something, only to have the vast majority of them discarded at a later stage.

Take the contentious car parking situation, for example. Residents pleaded with both parties to factor in parking spaces for existing residents in the new build. The charge was led by those occupying properties at Northwood Tower. They predicted that the new housing, positioned directly in front of the tower, would cause conflict when new families move in.

According to the residents of Northwood, they were given verbal assurances that their parking spaces would be unaffected in the new build. Similar verbal assurances were given to Marlowe Road residents. In May and June last year Northwood residents were invited to register for resident permits for use in a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) operating 8am6.30pm.

In a letter dated 16th January 2017, developers Countryside agreed to subsidise the cost of one parking permit per household for a duration of 12 months. Residents who previously applied for and received a permit were they promised an extension of the permit, following a six-month delay to the scheme. Another letter dated 25 May 2017 told Northwood residents: “The council has taken the view that those residents who do not currently have a residents’ permit for the CPZ will not be eligible for one going forward.” Sounds neat and tidy. Thing is, I’ve been inundated with calls from residents claiming they never had sight of the initial letter inviting them to register in the first place.

Meanwhile, the issue of anti-social behaviour and crime continues to worsen. Barely a week passes when the police aren’t called to the estate for one reason or another. During the second week of June, I was briefed about three alleged stabbings and a house raid. A week later, a Marlowe Road resident knocked on my door to discuss the theft of his car last year and his worry about a repeat instance. I continue to suffer sleep deprivation thanks to the anti-social behaviour of two temporary residents occupying properties above my own.

A previous meeting with the new housing officer was utterly unproductive. After claiming to have “carried out initial investigations” with an intention to investigate further, he later admitted he hadn’t, in fact, carried out any such work because of his excessive workload dealing with anti-social behaviour. Acting under legal advice, I intend to vacate my property and withhold rent payments until the matter is resolved.